“Potential” Part 3: The Body Issue
This is a hard one for me.
I have tasted the awe of pure being, and I know the absolute freedom and indescribable joy of the Love that lives at the center of me, but when I see an old pattern like this, I can’t help but feel saddened that it has to happen to people, and that it had to happen to me for so long, and that I still sometimes get caught in it’s grip.
I have been talking a lot about potential on the blog this week, and the final chapter of that exploration is this: What happens to us when we look at our body in terms of potential, instead of as it IS?
This is a pain that’s near and dear to my heart. Because I’ve looked at my body in terms of potential for as long as I can remember. Even when I was a little girl I remember feeling insecure about my body, or defective in some way.
Yes, me and body issues go WAY back.
I don’t know why I had this particular affliction, but I did, and I know now that it was my gift in waiting – to someday be opened, and shared with the world. It made me a bigger heart, and a softer spirit, it made me a warm and safe place for others to come in out of the cold, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. It made me into a well of compassion and understanding. It gave me a fearlessness about the dark that helps me to help others not be so afraid of what they find there. It truly is a miracle of the highest order when I look at it from here.
But boy, oh boy, did it not feel like that when I was in the thick of it.
If the thought comes that my body should be different than it is now, that it is not living up to the potential I had in mind for it, that it is “bad” or “wrong” or “ugly” or “disgusting” or just plain “not right” or “not normal”, and I BELIEVE that THOUGHT, I am in hell.
When I believe that my body needs to live up to some potential (thinner, fitter, stronger, leaner, prettier, etc. etc.) I treat the body I have right here and now like a defect, an uninvited criminal, I am unkind to it in a way that I would NEVER be unkind to another person, I neglect it and abuse it – wether that’s only in my mind OR in my actions as well. I abandon my body in the name of potential, and the PAIN that results is because of that abandonment, NOT because of my body as it is.
It’s because of the thought, the thought brings shame and pain and fear, and the next thing you know you are running for the future, but when you are out there in the future (which does not exist accept as a story in your head) nobody is here with you, and you feel that ripped-apart-ness down to your core. You think you feel conflicted and sad because of the state of your body, but you feel that way because you have just left yourself alone, for a story of what “should be”.
And all the while, your body is here, serving you. Like a faithful and humble servant, doing it’s work to keep you alive, caring for you, breathing for you, beating your heart, regenerating cells, moving your limbs and your fingers, and you don’t have to do anything for it. You just receive and receive all day long, and your body gives and gives – asking for nothing in return, and god knows it will take all manner of abuse and still love you just the same. It carries us, and houses us, and look how we treat it… if only in our minds!
When I first saw this, I just fell to my knees with humility and gratitude… it just tore my heart wide open.
I have come to see that my body is like The Giving Tree – that children’s book by Shel Silverstein that most people adore (me included), and some people think is about being a doormat – but that is grossly misunderstood. Life, Love, Spirit, God, The Universe, The Tao, Consciousness, whatever you want to call that fullness at the center, THAT is like the Giving Tree – a bottomless well of unconditional love and giving. It gives, and gives, and gives, whether we see and appreciate it or not. It does not need anything from us. It does not need even our appreciation, because it IS infinite love, and it knows what it is, where it came from, and where it will return. The intelligence in our cells is more than our minds could ever know. Our bodies love to be loved and cared for — but they will serve us to the best of their ability to the bitter end —with or without our love and care in return. Our bodies are this loving. Every one of us – at our core – is this kind of loving.
The only reason love is ever withheld from anybody or anything is to protect one’s ego or guard against depletion, but when you know yourself to BE that love, when you truly and really know that, you know that it cannot be depleted, and that it only ever APPEARS to be depleted when we withhold it from OURSELVES.
But yes, even though I know this, and have experienced this on profound levels in my life, the thought still pays me a visit from time to time, about how my body should be different than it is in this moment —
It’s just that now, me and MIND have been playing cards for long enough,
that I know when to call BULLSHIT
when I see it.
p.s. - all of this does not mean you can’t change your body, it’s only to say – start with love, surrender and acceptance, be HERE with your body the way it is here for you, and see where that takes you. All true change begins, and ends, with the unconditional presence of love.